AuthorConniff, Ruth

Across the country, Republicans are pushing local, state, and national regulations to curtail democracy and lock in minority rule. Most of these efforts aim to ensure white, male, conservative control of government by flouting the will of the majority of citizens.

Making it harder for young people, poor people, and people of color to vote is a key element of this plan. But so are a raft of smaller, mean-spirited measures so petty that they boggle the mind.

This fall, we will likely face a partial federal government shutdown because Republican members of Congress are insisting on attaching bans on drag queen story hours, inclusive hiring policies, and other unrelated riders to what should be straightforward government funding bills.

In Indiana, a new law just passed the legislature that blocks the Indianapolis City-County Council from putting up no-turn-on-red signs downtown. Local officials, responding to record-high pedestrian fatalities, were on the brink of passing the common-sense traffic safety measure when a Republican legislator jumped in front of them. State Senator Aaron Freeman called the downtown proposal "stupid" and part of a Democratic "war on cars."

Now the city is stuck with dangerous intersections it can't regulate.

This follows a 2016 law, signed by then Governor Mike Pence, that prohibits city and county officials in Indiana from taxing or restricting the use of disposable plastic bags by grocery stores and other retailers.

In Texas, the amount of solar energy fueling the electric grid has doubled since early last year and is on track to double again by the end of next year, The New York Times reports. Yet the state legislature is contemplating a crackdown on renewable energy with proposed fees, heavy regulation, and other barriers to growth that will protect the fossil fuel industry from competition.

The party of small government and local control is hoping to tie up renewable energy innovators in red tape in Texas, even as consumers confront deadly power outages and climate change drives ever more extreme weather.

Destructive policies like the disastrous mismanagement of the power grid in Texas are attributable to simple greed and politicians who carry water for industry. But other anti-democratic measures are so capricious that they seem to arise purely from a desire to score political points by making life miserable for most people.

Take the array of conditions the Wisconsin legislature imposed on Milwaukee as part of...

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